Kramer latest to make debut

PITTSBURGH — Kevin Kramer became the latest rookie to make his major league debut with the Pirates this season.

He played second base and batted second in Friday’s game against the Miami Marlins.

“It will be another good opportunity for us to get (in) one of the players that our player development staff has poured into,” manager Clint Hurdle said. “He’s poured in to the organization to get his major league debut.”

It’s hard to determine how much weight the Pirates will put on September performance. General manager Neal Huntington has said it can be as misleading as spring training game action because the level of competition is uneven.

But Kramer and Kevin Newman are getting a taste of what it’s like in the major leagues, and that has to help them going into next year’s spring training.

There figure to be opportunities. Adam Frazier could bump Josh Harrison out of second base. Mercer is facing free agency.

The Pirates could offer him a one-year contract with the idea he would mentor a younger replacement in 2019. Clint Barmes filled that role when Mercer was breaking in.

Mercer said he hasn’t thought about what happens when this season ends.

“I want to be back here, but if that doesn’t work out, it doesn’t,” Mercer told mlb.com. “You just go out and play, and stay healthy, and show teams you can still play. We’ll see what happens.”

(Mehno can be reached at johnmehnocolumn@gmail.com)

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